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Management Organisational Behaviour - Essay Example

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Let us commence the discussion with a definition of the word team. "A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable." (Katzenbach and Smith (1993 p 112)…
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Management Organisational Behaviour
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Download file to see previous pages Complementary skills in team members are necessary for it to be able to function effectively and produce results. In case a team starts out with all of its members having only one skill set, and they need some more to be able to produce results, it would either need to induct more persons with the required skills, or its members would have to acquire the skills themselves, if they have to continue as a unit of any significance. The members of a team would have a common purpose or vision, articulated performance goals, and an accepted way of doing work in order to reach those goals. They would also hold themselves "mutually accountable" for what the team did or did not achieve. If I achieved something as part of the team, I would be willing to share the credit with the others; if someone in there made a boo-boo, I'd be willing to take the flak as well.
Does the above definition of a team - a text-book one actually fit the real world It should, since the definition itself, we must remember, is also derived from observing that real world. However, as work conditions and situations get more diverse and complex, our definitions and understanding of how teams work must evolve from the simplistic to include complex aspects of their functioning.
Teams can be extremely powerful when they work well. Of this there can be no doubt. ...
Apart from the simple arithmetic of two plus two making four, in the case of a team operating well, the two plus two could make five or seven or even ten. 'Synergy' (from the Greek word 'synergos' or working together) happens when the combined effect of two or more persons working together is more than an aggregation of the individual members' efforts.
It is interesting to reflect that Adam Smith, the originator of the science of Economics, was in fact referring to this synergistic effect of increase in production, when he stated that division of labor (the process of production being divided into many parts, with each part being performed by a different person) resulted in a higher output. Smith's model, which did not even consider it necessary that the worker be happy, still produced a higher output. Such is the power of synergy. (Hines 1996, para 3 )
However, synergy can go terribly wrong too, and work negatively. Negative synergy can undo all the benefits that possibly accrue from working as a team. To understand this better, let's take the analogy of a person working by himself and another with a computer. The computer's output can be a hundred times more than that of the person working unaided. But let a computer make an error - it would probably take hundreds of persons working hundreds of hours to make the kind of error that a computer could make in a nano-second! And synergy is just that. When working positively, it produces much more than disparate individuals can; negatively it destroys quicker and faster than an aggregation of individuals working separately.
A real life example of the operation of negative synergy has been mentioned by Ghoshal, Piramal and Bartlett in the working of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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